Saturday, February 24, 2018

Longview ISD board president draws opponent

By Glenn Evans
Feb. 8, 2018 at 12:05 a.m.

Michael Tubb

An insurance salesman with two children in Longview ISD and two more poised to enroll is challenging the board president in the May 5 election, saying the district needs better communication skills.

Michael "Tubbs" Tubb filed Wednesday to seek the Place 1 slot on the school board, the seat for which Board President Mark Camp is seeking re-election to a three-year term.

Tubb, 37, has been a consistent community volunteer since moving to Longview in 2004. The partner at Gans & Smith Insurance Agency has served on the boards of Community Connections, Longview Ambucs and a host of other civic groups.

He was sponsored to the Longview Greggton Rotary by longtime Longview ISD Trustee Mickey Melton.

The family tree of his wife, Julia, includes many teachers, including a past superintendent of Gregg County schools. Tubb describes himself as a schools nerd, poring over the LISD budget online and becoming a familiar face in the Region VII Education Service Center in Kilgore.

"We have qualified teachers, and they are unhappy," he said. "They are looking at other districts to go teach in. ... When they do have a concern, I don't feel like they have a platform to express those concerns. I feel like they fear they'll be reprimanded."

Tubb is critical of the district for reassigning two elementary principals to the high school without explanation. The action drew 30 sign-carrying parents and elementary students to a recent board meeting, where they were given no explanation why South Ward Elementary School Principal Rebeca Cooper and Ware Elementary School Principal Sarah Sheppard were taken from their campuses during the Christmas break.

"It seems like a lot of these decisions were behind closed doors," Tubb said. "There's a veil of secrecy. The biggest problem is the lack of communication."

Camp, seeking his third term, declined to comment on the winter-break transfers during a break in the Jan. 22 board meeting. He cited personnel privacy and said elected officials should not run the day-to-day operations of the district.

Camp did not respond to messages Wednesday sent through the district and directly to his cellphone seeking comment about his challenger.

Tubb said he understands personnel issues are private, adding he's been studying on that at the Kilgore ESC, too.

"Anything that I can disclose to the community, I will disclose," he said. "That's the only way to resolve things, is to have that conversation and see where everybody stands. You can't make an educated decision with no information. And that's my big issue, is we've got people like Mark Camp, the president, that will not communicate with the community. And that, in my mind, should be his top priority."

Tubb said he's called every trustee to let them know he is running. He has not been able to reach Camp, he added.

"I'm hoping he reaches out to me," he said of his opponent.



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